Christian Living, Finding Peace, Grieving, Healing Season, Surrender, Uncategorized

You’re Not That Strong (and why that’s good)

“You’re gonna be so strong after this thing, honey,” her eyes were locked on mine. Her heavy hands giving my shoulder an affirming shake.

“How strong does someone need to be?” I asked. I don’t think I want…sob…I don’t think I want to be…sob…that…sob…strong.

I was young.

I was wise!

You should not be as strong as I am.

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I’m not talking about gains in the gym, I’m talking about lifting the crushing weight of hopelessness.

20 years ago today my parents, Lee and Jacque Cook were killed by an F7 tornado in Montgomery, Ohio.

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I know. Ouch. So ouch.

At the time I received a LOT of help, so help people with their “ouches” now.

My friend was right, I became “so strong through this” but I’m still no convinced that is a good thing. It’s been suggested that my strength is often detrimental and creates imbalances in life. I bet that’s true.

Guess why?

It’s fake news.

I’m not strong. I am carried by the King and He strengthens me.

If all of a sudden you’re like…ope…I’m out.

Peace.

And speaking of peace…Jesus…He gets a crummy wrap sometimes, but He is actually known as the Prince of Peace. 20 years ago today, I became a witness. I know that heaven fell on me like honey from a comb and once I get a taste, I was like freaking Pooh Bear.

20 years ago, I was walking around the wreckage where my family and house used to be.

And I was looking to two things a)treasures-anything that proved we existed and b)answers-like why?

At the time, I believed in reincarnation. I thought that in each life we had a lesson to learn in order to progress forward and eventually attain Nirvana. I don’t really know what combination the “all you can eat buffet of faith”, I’d stacked on my plate to think that way. But…there it is. I wandered the ground asking “why, God” and “what are you trying to teach me” as my born-again brother was on the t.v. news saying stuff like “God is so faithful. He’s so good. He took them together. They would not have wanted it any other way.”

I was entirely carried by friends, civic and church people who I didn’t know. You can read the whole story in my book The Healing Season: How a Deadly Tornado Wrecked and Reshaped My Faith. It’s everywhere books are sold (and there’s a small group DVD and audio book, too)

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I was not strong. I was carried. I was weak. The community was strong and carried me.

I “have  some “strength”. I may even be strong.Or, maybe I’m weak and trying to keep you at arms length by flexing mine. I’m in therapy for my “strong ” because like I said, it’s fake news. I am needy. I need my friends, family, church, counselor. I need my workouts (but to burn off the crazy as much as build muscle).

For at least 20 years I wore I black pleather jacket. It was bad to the bone and looked killer on me.

But but God is doing a new thing. Think about it: do the words “bad to the bone and killer” best describe who I am and who I want to be?

I threw the jacket away. It does not make anyone think I’m tough. It’s not going to stop someone from mugging me (or worse).

I am covered by the King and clothed in His mercy and grace.

I know…so much Christianeese.

But, dude, it’s Him. He’s my strength. He carried me then and now and always. And that’s enough for me. My God strength is my good strength. Not my real strength. Not my black pleather jacket. My Jesus.

So, 20 years now.

20-years with a yucky title, I didn’t pick “orphan”or want “tornado girl.”

We all have those, right? “Divorced guy” “Cancer mom” “Unemployed boy”.

Is there anyone in your life saying, “this is going to make you so strong”…sure.

It is.

But I really hope it also makes you weak. Weak enough that you need someone and reach out and feel them clutch your hand.

We can’t do it alone.

We are not made to.

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Plus those titles, “orphan” “looser” “failure” are also lies. I’m calling them out.

You are not those names. You are a God-breathed and divinely inspired movement of heaven on earth. Put that on your next job application! Right next to “emergency contact: Christ”.  Like the t-shirt says, we need a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus. But we also need people. Not just our tribes either.

Part of my “so strong problem” is this lie: I don’t need anyone. I can do it myself.

Again, so much fake news.

We need each other and we are needed.

Taken to it’s natural extreme for this tornado girl looks like isolation that is justified by introversion, which is probably instigated by a scary freaking world where tornadoes kill parents and kids get shot at schools, and planes fly into buildings sometimes. Not always. Not usually. But sometimes. At the mall. Or movies. So maybe I’ll stay home.

But there’s a problem there.

It was not ME who held me up back then, it was YOU. It was them.

It was God (of course) and the community. I worry about the unity in commUNITY.

Today, 20 years later that worry is wasted energy.

I was not worried a tornado would come. And most of the “tornado” we worry about only swirl in our minds. But there is one who calms the storm and in our weakness, He is very strong.

Plus…biggest bonus prize ever, because of Him I know I for sure get to see Mom and Dad again. It’s a done deal and it’s makes me so bold in the soul I could trash talk a tornado: what you got windbag? It only LOOKS like you won.

But there I go, being strong again. Today, I’m being gentle with myself.

I’ll sit with a coffee, and blanket and dog. I choose the little way to remember: plant a flower, read devotions.

Maybe I’ll bake a cake (angel food, of course.) and share it with someone.

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Shannyn Caldwell is a Traditional Naturopathic Doctor and Founder of The Healing Season: Holistic Wellness Community.

 

 

 

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Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Recipes, Uncategorized

“Gerson Therapy Cookies”

About a year ago, I became a student of Traditional Naturopathic Medicine at Genesis School of Natural Health. I was interested to see that the first phases of the program dealt, in large part, with the issue of Cancer in the body. There is plenty of reason to be encouraged at how nutritional and life-style can reduce your Cancer risks and reverse the progress of the disease. As Naturopathic Doctors work with Alopathic Doctors, I am hopeful in the progress in overall wellness that can be make and at little to no cost to the individual seeking health and healing.

And it’s not just in the arena of cancer that this holds true. Hippocrates was being literal when he said, “Let your food be your medicine.” Real, organic, nutritious food really can be strong and powerful agents of healing. And so it is with the first book I studied while a student with Genesis: The Gerson Therapy by Charlotte Gerson and Morton Walker, D.P. M. This is the brain child of Max Gerson M.D. who, while a student, was looking for a way to help with his personal malady’s. What he landed on was a dietary protocol which seems to be at least, helpful and at best, miraculous. If you have a loved one who is seeking to heal Cancer, this book is a must read.

The Therapy is a combination of cooked and juiced fruit and vegetables. You would find, after following a daily (let alone weekly, monthly or yearly) Gerson diet would result in a vast remain of apple and carrot pulp. While some of the high end juicers approved by The Gerson Institute leave very little pulp behind, lets be realistic. Many, if not most, of us are using a more conventional juicer. This means that until one has the means to invest in the more high end juicer, they will, when following the Gerson Diet, have a LOT of pulp. Composting is an obvious option, but it seems a bit of a waste, when there is clearly so much life, health and good ol’ yumminess left in this pulp to just toss into the compost heap.

So, in an effort to make something good and something…good…I created this little treat:

Gerson Therapy Cookies is what I’m calling them, although they are in no way endorsed by the Gerson Institute. While they are free from that nasty white stuff, the sugar content is not really in the zone anyone would recommend from someone with Cancer of any other illness. But if you find yourself in a situation like mine, with a family member following the Gerson Therapy for healing and me, with a bunch of left over pulp, this may be for you.

The recipe is simple:

 

 

Gerson Therapy Cookies
Author: Shannyn Caldwell
Recipe type: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Corn-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Yeast-Free
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 24
Dairy-free, grain-free cookies made with carrot and apple juice pulp.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups carrot, apple juice pulp (made from approximately 4 carrots, 2 red apples.)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup liquid coconut oil (can omit if desired)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon black strap molasses
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla liquid stevia
  • 2½ tablespoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup flax meal
  • 2/3 cup organic oats
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped dried fruit (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 380F. In a food processor, place the juice pulp, pitted dates, egg, olive oil, water, and chopped pear or apple. Turn the food processor on until the mixture is well incorporated and smooth.
  2. Add the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, salt, vanilla liquid stevia, baking soda, baking powder, and flax. Periodically, stop the food processor to scrape the bowl with a spatula. Keep mixing the batter until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated. It will be very thick. Once the batter is mixed, scoop it into a large mixing bowl.
  3. To the mixing bowl, add the oats. You an also add chopped, dried fruit, if you want to. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, incorporate the nuts, coconut, and dried fruit into the batter.
  4. Liberally grease two mini muffin trays or cookie sheet (that contain 12 muffin molds, each) with coconut oil. Mold each cookie, by hand: using a spoon, fill each mini muffin mold, half way. Then, take a second scoop of muffin batter, and form it into a mound shape. ** The muffins in this recipe will not rise; therefore, you need to shape the muffins yourself before you bake them**
  5. Use your hands to help you to mold the muffins into muffin shapes.
  6. Place the muffin trays into the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
  7. Once baked, you want the muffins to be a deep brown color. After baking, cool the muffins on a baking rack. Let them completely cool before you sample them.
Notes
Juice Pulp – You can freeze carrot, apple pulp in 3-cup portions. When you’re ready to make cookies, just place the frozen juice pulp in a pan, and place it in the preheated oven. It will thaw in about 4-5 minutes.
Stevia – You can substitute 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar for the vanilla liquid stevia.
Storage – Do not store these muffins in a tightly sealed container. They are too moist. Just place them on a plate, covered loosely.

 

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